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Uttar Pradesh has threatened the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi with stopping drinking water supply if it did not check the flow of water from 16 drains into the Yamuna.
Shivpal Singh Yadav, UP's irrigation minister and a leader of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), sent a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, asking him to take prompt action and set up water treatment plants.
In the letter, which comes close on the heels of Kejriwal mentioning SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in his list of corrupt politicians, Shivpal pointed out the sludge that flows into the Yamuna with drain water posed a grave health hazard to the people of Agra and Mathura.
Protests have erupted in Agra and Mathura over the issue, with local SP leaders joining the demonstrations.
Shivpal, who is Mulayam's brother, added while UP was supplying clean drinking water to the Capital from the Ganga, the Delhi government was returning the favour by sending contaminated water, which was having an adverse effect on health.
UP supplies 400 cusec water to the Capital every day. Border areas would be worst affected in case the supply comes to a halt, a senior irrigation department official said, adding the UP government had given a three-month ultimatum in this regard.
If the SP government stops water supply, Delhi will face harrowing times, as a tussle between discoms and the Delhi government has already raised concerns over regular power supply in the summer.
Throwing an open challenge to Kejriwal, who is eyeing Muslim votes in UP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Shivpal said water treatment plants should be on the priority list of the Delhi government
The supply of water is a major political issue in west UP, especially after farmers' body Bharatiya Kisan Union asserted the state government should provide water to farmers for irrigation rather than supplying it to Delhi. Opposition parties in UP (such as the BJP, RLD, Congress and the BSP) have supported the farmer's agitation.
Shivpal said the state government had sent a Rs 30,000-crore plan to the central government for the cleaning of major rivers, including the Ganga, Yamuna and the Gomti.
"We will also construct ghats at the religious spots located on the banks of the river," he added.